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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Goodnight everyone, and have a weekend filled with NEW surprises!

Goodnight everyone!

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

Norman Vincent Peale

It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.

The weekend has finally arrived.

The sun has set.

The evening sky has erupted. 

Let's smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday

Tonight and for the rest of the year on our Friday night music blog, Christmas music. Because after all, music is the universal language.

Sorry about being so tardy.

Traditionally this first Christmas music blog features brand new Christmas music, so we won’t mess with tradition.

Saxman Dave Koz has never disappointed with his Christmas albums.

“Christmas songs already have, inherently, in their DNA, all the things you want in a piece of music,” says Koz. “Why do we want to hear these same songs year after year? Because they’re more than just lyrics or notes on a page. They’re touchstones. They are musical doorways that enable us to go back and visit times in our lives that were much simpler and much more innocent.”

His new album has plenty of guests, including another saxophone star. I’m sure you’ll recognize Dave Koz’s guest and his distinctive sound on our first selection.

“Kenny is a good friend, and we’ve known each other for many years, but we’d never recorded together,” says Koz. “So this track is something of a musical moment – a coming together of two people who have played the saxophone for a very long time. This was an opportunity for each of our musical identities to be well represented – soprano sax for him, tenor sax for me – and yet we could meet in the middle and play off each other. Kenny was very open to the concept of doing a big band arrangement with a killer rhythm section and it was really fun.”

Double sax.

How cool.

During 2014 you’ve probably heard this female vocalist, and more than once, but you may not know her name.

Idina Menzel teams up with Michael Buble and the collaboration is way beyond cute!


Read more

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: "And the card attached would say..."

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie; Nostalgia


There aren’t many great Thanksgiving songs. “Count Your Blessings.”

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

When my bankroll is gettin' small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

I think about a nursery
And I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them
As they slumber in their beds

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Read more

Is my Franklin neighborhood dying?

A Franklin neighborhood

To answer the above headlined question: Depends.

Jennifer and I were, if not the first, one of the first families to move into our then-brand new subdivision. Needless to say it has grown. The last empty lot just kiddy corner from us is now under construction. So the neighborhood has changed, but has it been for the better?

Geoff Williams of US News & World Report interviewed a number of sources who offered expertise on what makes a growing or dying neighborhood. Let’s explore the factors they’ve come up with. My neighborhood is about 10 years old. No way it’s dying, right?

A former real estate agent who works for a marketing firm that specializes in the mortgage industry says, “If your region is struggling to attract new companies or current companies aren't hiring or are laying off, the clock has started ticking.”


A good signal is if you’re “located inside a major beltway with a shortage of available land.”

An increased number of “FOR SALE” signs or vacancies is not a good sign. My street has had a number of these the past five years, too many in my view.

Schools that perform well are a plus. Some parents have told me they believe Franklin’s school district under-performs. But it’s still a good system.

Are kids out playing and riding bikes? If so, that’s a sign of growth. My subdivision has more children than ever.

Traffic lights replacing stop signs means increased traffic that also means growth. Add in repaved roads, new signs, sidewalk repairs, and bike paths and you’ve really got something according to another source in the article. My neighborhood strikes out on all of those.

If you can readily walk to cool destinations, chalk up another plus point. Nope, can’t do that, though it is much easier now to use my feet to get to Sendik’s. I do love this from a sentence in the article:

“If you can walk or bike on designated paths to reach places like a baseball stadium you may have a winner.” Don’t get me started.

Realizing that as one my colleagues once said, “Scorecards are for reporters and politicians,” my tally shows six factors point to my neighborhood as dying with only two indicating growth.

Am I ready to put up the FOR SALE sign? Not with the housing market the way it is today. Besides, despite our outrageous taxes, I really like living here. The neighborhood is predominantly friendly and very safe. People care about other people and their homes. Kyla has lots of new friends. And we’re relatively close to goods and services, if not as close as we’d like because Franklin, well, you know.

US News & World Report provides a caveat:

Of course, there are no absolutes. Bottom line: The goal isn't to someday look around and think, “there goes the neighborhood.” You want to think, “here it comes.”

So no FOR SALE sign. And no RIP stone either.

Burned and blinded veterans need your help

Help our Veterans

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 If there's any amount you can afford to give - no matter how small - to help a wounded military hero like retired Army Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris (shown on the right), please, please do so right now. Nearly every day we get a desperate phone call or e-mail from another severely disabled soldier, marine, sailor or airman seeking emergency financial aid.

That's exactly why the Coalition created the Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Project, which as you know sends $60 to our seriously injured troops and veterans to enable them to buy meals over Thanksgiving weekend.

Please make the most generous one-time, tax-deductible Thanksgiving donation you can afford.

Remember your gift of $60 can help provide meals over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend for ONE severely disabled military hero and their family, your donation of $120 can help feed TWO struggling military families this Thanksgiving, your contribution of $180 can provide Thanksgiving meals for THREE families, and so on.

I'm retired Army General John K. Singlaub. And I'm spearheading the Coalition's 2014 Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Project.

I'm proud of what we've achieved together so far. So I want to thank you for all you've done in the past and remind you that we can't feed a single disabled hero this Thanksgiving without the kindness of good friends like you.

As you know, the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes receives no government funds.

So the severely disabled troops and veterans we help are totally reliant on the generosity of you (and other Americans) who feel called to help them.

Thanksgiving 2014

Maybe your gift will be sent to a wounded warrior like retired Army Sgt. Travis Harvey, whose leg was shattered by mortar fire in Iraq.

    "Currently I am unemployed and unable to pay child support, let alone buy gas and food," Travis told the Coalition.

As I mentioned in another e-mail, desperate phone calls and e-mails are coming in from our troops severely disabled in the war on terror - and in many cases their spouses. And I don't want this to be the FIRST Thanksgiving we have to cross a wounded hero off our Thanksgiving list because we lacked the money to help them.

So please make a generous, tax-deductible donation of $60, $120, $180 or whatever you can afford right now.

Thanks again for all you've done to help our severely disabled troops and veterans in the past. I hope they can count on you this Thanksgiving.


Major General John K. Singlaub Signature

Major General John K. Singlaub
U.S. Army (Ret.)

P.S.  Please say "Thank You" to a severely disabled military hero this Thanksgiving by helping to provide his family with meals over the holiday weekend. Remember they willingly risked their lives and limbs to protect your family (and mine) from terrorism, and most say they'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Here's your chance to do something concrete for them and their families in return. As I mentioned, your gift of $60 can help provide a meal for a severely wounded serviceman or woman and their family on Thanksgiving. Your donation of $120 can help feed TWO families, $180 can help THREE families, and so on. And of course smaller gifts can be combined to feed a military family in need.

Thanks so much for supporting the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes!

Remember, if you make your tax-deductible Thanksgiving gift right now - today - we'll still have time to help before Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving 2014

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes|PO Box 96440 | Washington, DC 20090-6440 | | 1-888-447-2588

Injured war on terror veterans need food on Thanksgiving

Help our Veterans

Thanksgiving 2014 Disabled Vets
Since I know how much you care about our financially struggling military families, I wanted to give you a heads-up on something: Here at the Coalition we've just launched our 2014 Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Project, and we really need your help.

As in past years, our goal is to provide $60 to as many severely disabled troops as possible so they can provide their families with meals over the Thanksgiving holiday. Your gift of $60 can help provide a meal for a severely wounded serviceman or woman and their family on Thanksgiving. Your donation of $120 can help feed TWO families, $180 can help THREE families, and so on. And of course smaller gifts can be combined to feed a military family in need.

By the way, I'm happy to report that for the past five Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Projects, Coalition supporters have contributed a total of $758,700 to our Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meal Project, allowing us to provide more than 12,000 meals to our wounded heroes over Thanksgiving weekend.

Now we need to keep up the good work!

By the way, if you're not sure your Thanksgiving gift can make a real difference, check out this thank you letter that came in.

After receiving $60 from a previous Coalition Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Project, a wounded servicewoman named Maggie wrote in to say,
    "When I opened my mailbox and saw the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes' $60 gift card, I was so surprised and delighted. It is just very good timing since my daughter and I have never had a turkey for Thanksgiving on our dinner table for a long time!"
Calls and e-mails are constantly streaming in to the Coalition from wounded warriors unable to feed and clothe their children. Why not help me surprise one of them by putting $60 in their mailbox a few days before Thanksgiving?

I'm retired Army General John K. Singlaub. As I've mentioned to you before, because of the sluggish government bureaucracy our wounded warriors are waiting an average of 10 months - and often more than a year - to get their first government disability check after leaving the hospital and being separated from active service.

Obviously they can't wait 10 months to feed their families. They need help right now.

I don't want to say "no" to even one disabled hero who said "yes" to serving our country . . . and I know you wouldn't want me to.

Thanksgiving 2014 Thank You Meals Project

These brave servicemen and women, some just 19 or 20 years old, went to war to protect your family and mine from terrorism.

Now some will never be able to see, or hear, or hug or chase after their little boy or girl because they've lost their arms or legs.

You and I can't heal their physical injuries or make them whole again. (No one can.)

But we can let them know their sacrifice hasn't been forgotten . . . and that someone cares enough to say "thank you" by helping to feed their family, because they risked their life to protect yours.

So please make the largest Thanksgiving donation you can afford.

Every additional military family we're able to help will have you to thank!


Major General John K. Singlaub Signature

Major General John K. Singlaub
U.S. Army (Ret.)

P.S. I wanted to be sure you knew the Coalition's 2014 Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meals Project has been launched.

Nearly every day we're receiving new requests for emergency financial aid, and I don't want to have to turn away even one hungry military family. Our troops and veterans who have been paralyzed, burned, blinded or suffered other injuries desperately need your continued support.

Remember your gift of $60 can help provide a meal for a severely wounded serviceman or woman and their family on Thanksgiving. Your donation of $120 can help feed TWO families, $180 can help THREE families, and so on. And of course smaller gifts can be combined to feed a military family in need.

Your past friendship and generosity are truly appreciated!

Thanksgiving 2014 Thank You Meals Project

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes|PO Box 96440 | Washington, DC 20090-6440 | | 1-888-447-2588

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